Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Einstein Talk Down the Block

One of the best things about living in New York City for any lit chick is the plethora of book events on any given night. Usually, these talks featuring the often famous & usually bestselling author are free (or at the very least, major-cheap.) Tonight, my love of science coupled with the draw of a well-crafted biography led me to shell out 15 bucks to hear Walter Isaacson speak about the famous subject for his book Einstein: His Life and Universe. This enlightening talk briefly explained Einstein's evolution into a radical physicist, focusing on high points in his mammoth scientific career and impact on historical events in the 20th Century. Isaacson's biography is the first to utilize all of Einstein's papers since they have become available, so there are new insights to be had.

We all feel we know everything there is to know about Einstein, so rather than rehash all that Isaacson wisely followed a succinct theme - the imperative nature of creativity in both Einstein's scientific output and in the development of any revolutionary thought. Einstein's quote of "Imagination is more important than knowledge" and his practice of "thought experiments" (which Isaacson explained as daydreaming to you and me) reinforce the philosophy that creativity and a certain non-conformity are what spur advancement in a thinking society.

Bonus: Learning more about Einstein's spiritual belief that god is manifest in the laws of the universe and the harmony of all that exists. Also seeing live-and-in-person journalist extraordinaire Walter Isaacson, former chairman of CNN and managing editor of Time (what a career!)

Major Bonus: Isaacson's observation that New York City has the electricity of a town filled with people who think creatively and differently, affirming my belief that I am in the right place. Also, the fact that this event took place just a block from my apartment, at the NY Historical Society. Easy walk!!!

1 comment:

kitty said...

Very cool.

This post reminds me once again that there's so much going on and it's up to me to experience it.

You absolutely must go to the New Yorker festival this fall. I've seen David Byrne, Steve Martin, Chuck Close, the late Richard Avedon, Malcolm Gladwell...never mind the writers from the magazine itself.

Sign up to receive the schedule early, so you can whittle your choices down. There are so many good ones to choose from. http://festival.newyorker.com

Welcome to NYC. Seems from your posts that you're already making the most of it!!